On Wednesday, Washington Senator Maria Cantwell took to the Senate Floor, urging lawmakers to pass the bipartisan Ocean Shipping Reform Act. Cantwell said the legislation, which she helped clear the Commerce Committee, will provide long-term solutions to ease supply chain challenges.


“The growers in my state are wondering how successful this season is going to be.  Because even if the crop yield is high, increased shipping costs and long shipping delays threaten Washington farmers and their ability to get goods to market and make ends meet.”

The Ocean Shipping Reform Act would provide the Federal Maritime Commission with greater authority to regulate harmful and discriminatory practices by international shipping companies. It would also require carriers to certify that the fees they charge for delays are in compliance with federal regulations or face penalties as well as increase transparency on how many empty containers carriers are transported. The Act would also prohibit ocean carriers from unreasonably declining U.S. cargo, such agriculture exports, that have left been stranded at the docks.

Cantwell added these struggles for farmers come as ocean shipping companies are making record profits. They have made $150 billion dollars in profits in 2021, and ocean import volume for the first quarter of this year is forecast to increase by more than 30 percent.

"Our farmers don't want special treatment. They just don't want to be exploited for the sake of record profits. We know from a 2020 freight index, that the container charge went from $1,300 a container to $11,000. These are exorbitant fees, and I think we need a Federal Maritime Commission looking at these issues. We see these issues in other aspects of our committee and hopefully we’ll deal with them in the future, but right now we need to take action on this important legislation.

This comes just days after the USDA announce a new 49-acre pop-up container storage site at the Port of Seattle.

Click Here to learn more about the Ocean Shipping Reform Act.

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